Submitted to: Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2017
Publication Date: 10/24/2017
Citation: Harrison, M.L., Spinks, M. 2017. The USDA Sorghum Collection: Past, Present, and Future. Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting. Paper No. 1019.
Technical Abstract: Past: The sorghum collection began modestly as an initial donation of populations in 1898 (Fig 1) that has grown into a large, diverse population collected\donated from 109 countries with Ethiopia being the largest donor (Fig 2). The collection was established formally in Griffin, GA in 1949 (see Timeline) and was initially curated by a lead scientist who curated all crops at the Griffin location. As the size of the germplasm collection and the importance of sorghum to U.S. agriculture grew, it was decided that a curator should be dedicated to the crop. In 1992, Jeff Dahlberg was selected as the first sorghum curator. Dr. Dahlberg and the sorghum curators to follow have transformed the sorghum collection into highly valuable tool for crop breeders and researchers globally. Present: Currently the sorghum collection has over 42,000 accessions at the Griffin location (Table 1). Efforts in the past several decades have made sorghum genetic resources more secure than ever with backups at a second location, samples split into long term storage at -18oC, and viability testing being conducted on a majority of the collection. Large scale regenerations at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico have resulted in thousands of successful seed increases ensuring high quality genetic resources available for distribution. Future: The focus forward will include acquiring new species as appropriate and possible to increase the genetic diversity and number of sorghum crop wild relatives in the NPGS collection. Currently, there are 19 species in the collection (Table 2). The acquisition of accession level characterization data will be pursued. One of the main means of accomplishing this goal will be to collaborate with plant breeders and scientists to obtain existing accession level data from large scale studies and incorporate this data into GRIN-Global. One of the goals currently underway is to transfer germplasm stored only at Fort Collins, CO to the active, distributable collection in Griffin thereby increasing the availability and diversity of the active collection.